The New England Patriots only made four selections in the 2017 NFL Draft. However, one stood out to Todd McShay as the best.
Coming into the 2017 NFL Draft, the New England Patriots were going to be somewhat limited because of deals to acquire proven veteran players. The Patriots are usually a very active team in the NFL Draft, however, that was not the case this year.
After a strong offseason with trades and free agency, the Patriots didn’t have a whole lot of immediate needs in the draft. While most of their starters are set, this draft was more about 2018 than 2017.
After trading down, the Patriots used their first pick on defensive end Derek Rivers. Even though Rivers didn’t go to a major college, he was able to shine at Youngstown State. Recently, Todd McShay called Rivers the best of the four picks of the Patriots. Here’s what he had to say about the pick.
"The Patriots had only four draft picks, but don’t forget: They traded picks to get veterans such as WR Brandin Cooks, pass-rusher Kony Ealy, and TE Dwayne Allen. After trading away Chandler Jones and Jamie Collins in a matter of seven months last year, outside linebacker was easily the Patriots’ biggest need entering the draft.Rivers is a perfect fit for the Patriots’ culture: He has no off-the-field baggage, loves the game and is a vocal leader in the locker room. He comes with loads of athletic upside too, after dominating small-school competition (52 tackles for loss, 38 sacks) and putting on a show at the NFL combine (top-five results among D-linemen in the 40, bench press, vertical jump, and 3-cone). Rivers gives the Patriots a much-needed infusion of youth at outside linebacker as Rob Ninkovich enters the final year of his contract."
With Rob Ninkovich entering the final year of his contract at over 30-years-old, this will likely be his last season in New England. While Ninkovich will likely still have a sizeable role in 2017, Rivers figures to be a solid replacement for him come 2018.
In addition to Rivers, the selection of tackle Antonio Garcia was also a good one for the Patriots. With a year to learn, he has the potential to be a starting left tackle in a year. Even though the Patriots only made four picks, they did pretty well in the 2017 NFL Draft.